Margaret A. Edwards Award Speech
Here is the original text of Tammy’s Margaret A. Edwards Award speech, as requested by some fans.
What a long, strange trip this has been—and yet I can’t complain. If you feel bitterly used and wish to exact vengeance at the end of my talk, I wish you luck, because it’s my father’s fault that I’m here, and he is swapping stories with the fellows in Valhalla. He was glad to hear that I fought my mother to watch the British TV series “Robin Hood” every weekday morning before I ran to school. You see, my father had three daughters, which means that I was the oldest son. I was never good at outdoor things, but when it came to books and television, my father shaped me. We shared the adventures of Thor Heyerdahl and Sir Edmund Hillary, Howard Pyle’s renditions (for boys) of the adventures of Robin Hood and of King Arthur, the historical novels of F. Van Wyck Mason and Kenneth Roberts, and the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mark Twain, and Edgar Allen Poe. He approved heartily when I read the family Golden Library editions of The Iliad and The Odyssey. We watched “Davy Crockett” together, the World War II drama “Combat!”, and the original “Star Trek” series. My mother, who was a brilliant, troubled woman, oversaw my education in liberal politics and issues, and in religious and social history. She was the reason that my middle school principal introduced me to a visitor as “our little women’s libber.” It was the 1960s. Things were changing. I breathed in feminism long before my friends at school.
Not that I had many friends. Up until third grade things were all right. I lived in a small coal town where everyone dressed the same. Then we moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. I was obviously poor: one kid said I looked like a “refugee from a rag bag.” I used “big words.” I read too much. I knew no popular songs or dances or TV shows (we had no TV by then). I was beat up and bullied. A girl who had been my best friend the day before joined others at my bus stop to throw dirt clods at me.